As of last week, all Missouri schools are closed to in-person classes for the rest of the school year. This means many Missouri educators will attempt to transition to remote learning. But this process hasn’t been smooth for everyone. In particular, there seems to be a gap in remote learning capabilities between traditional public schools and charter schools.
As of now, it is up to individual districts in Missouri to establish their own guidelines for distance-learning plans. Districts can decide how much classwork students need to complete and if teachers or the district create assignments. For districts that didn’t have any online learning components before COVID-19, switching completely online has presented challenges.
Missouri schools aren’t the only ones figuring out distance learning right now. The Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) has created a database for the largest public school districts in the nation and compiled what each has done in response to the coronavirus. CRPE then added 18 national charter school networks, and found that many charter networks are leading examples in how schools can continue to deliver quality instruction remotely to students.
Of the 18 charter networks CRPE examined, many were able to quickly adapt to entirely remote learning despite using different approaches. CRPE found that “half had created comprehensive learning plans with formal curriculum, instruction and progress monitoring.” Some of the charter networks, like Success Academy Charter Schools or Uncommon Schools, are even incorporating synchronous teaching. This is when all students in a class are logged online at the same time and learning from their teacher. In comparison, some Missouri school districts are not grading assignments, perhaps because they are still developing remote learning practices.
Missouri school districts don’t have to reinvent online learning. But they should be learning from other schools that have implemented remote learning successfully, like some of the leading national charter school networks that are leading the way on remote learning.